* Note: Click here to read Mobile Magazines, Part I — Google Play Magazines, here for Mobile Magazines, Part II — iOS Newsstand and here for Mobile Magazines, Part III — Next Issue and here for Mobile Magazines, Part IV — Periodicals on E-Readers
This story is more for you corporate types. imgZine isn’t really a consumer-based venture, but it’s an interesting story about using tablet technology to reach and engage people.
Corporations have a lot of information they want to distribute, or that they expect their employees to read as a way of staying current in their industry. Most companies distribute information through an Intranet or via email, and it can be difficult to see if content is being read and absorbed.
imgZine has a solution, and so far it’s working well.
The Dutch company was founded in 2011 by Marijn Deurloo and Bert Kok. They were impressed by the success of iPad apps like Flipboard and Pulse, and they realized the publishing industry was going through a massive disruption. Technology, advertising and social media were completely changing content delivery, and Deurloo and Kok thought publishers would embrace a branded, real-time magazine.
While some publishers have signed on, what the founders soon discovered was that corporations and other large organizations were interested as well.
Take the Dutch Internal Revenue Service, for instance, which has an extensive Intranet with lots of news and information about taxes and tax law. With an editorial team of eight people, they produced and curated plenty of content for their employees. There was just one problem: No one was looking at the articles on the intranet. By working with imgZine, the Dutch IRS brought their content to tablets and smartphones, and now employees are reading.
I downloaded their MedZine app, which was one of the few in English. It was a nice, professional app. Everything was smooth. Articles had comment fields that were easy to interact with. If I were in the medical field, I’d definitely use it.
How do organizations know their content is being read? imgZine provides a statistics dashboard to their clients. It collects data anonymously, and it showed that Dutch IRS employees were downloading the app and looking at content during off hours. Who would have expected that they’d want to read tax info on the couch, at home? However, it makes sense. Give people content on a portable device, and they’ll use it. Perhaps in between sessions of Angry Birds, but they will read it.
The dashboard can collect a lot of data. Ever wondered if your audience prefers to click or swipe? imgZine can tell you. They can track (in aggregate) how long people interact with the app, whether they click on ads, if any, and how often they engage with the content.
The numbers are pretty good. When content has forms or comment fields, they are used 10-20 percent of the time. I know plenty of blogs that would love to have those kinds of engagement numbers. Even their ad click-through rate is excellent: three to four percent, which is huge, considering the average is .1 to .3 percent (according to Wikipedia.)
They’ve made significant progress in a year and a half. While most of their clients are still in the Netherlands, Kok was in the States in February to close with a San Francisco company that’ll be acting as a U.S. reseller. Next week, he’ll be back here in the States to work on more sales.
Where do they see themselves in five years? When I asked Kok that question, he said, “This could be a good chance to build out this business. The U.S. market can be big for us. We hope to sell 100 apps in the U.S. in the next four quarters. Within five years, this could be a pretty big company.”
imgZine currently has 20 employees, so if they can achieve that growth rate, it’ll be a company we’ll continue to hear about.